Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Cheesy Gammon and Potato Bake

I've got history. With graters that is...

This picture happened recently. Its like a crime scene, you can still see traces of the cheese I was attempting to grate. Oh the horror! Me and my Jamie grater had 6 magical years together. I already owned two rather shiny microplanes (and still do but their handles annoy me) but my beloved coarse grater survived 4 house moves and grated a hell of a lot of cheese. And carrots.Probably more. Then one fateful night OH THE HORROR IT SNAPPED!! I almost cried. What shall I do? Do I replace? I was scared in case the horror happened again....

So I went shopping... I tried to look for the JO one *just in case I changed my mind* but couldn't find on the high street...it was late..I was tired...weary...still saddened ...and in a moment of madness I purchased the below lime flecked one for a whole pound. I like a bargain but its not the one for me. The bottom cover thingy seems entirely useless other than to fall off and its unsurprisingly not sharp enough. It doesn't have a good prognosis.

But then a rainbow appeared on the horizon of my tears... and it was a welcome hello to my OXO Good Grips 'Complete Grate and Slice set' and we have fully bonded. Those who follow me on Instagram will testify to that! The set consists of four removable grating and slicing slides - and I used it almost daily ever since receiving it! It has pride of place at the front of the cupboard rather than being abandoned towards the back in the mandolin graveyard.....

As I've had 'issues' with my PC and the odd health one to throw a spanner in the works, I have not been very good writing down any recipes but this one is fairly close. My oven temperature is still wrong and I still share a kitchen so blogging is tricky! I have posted pictures of a similar dish a few years back here  with inspiration from Hampshire Cook but this is the updated one with an actual recipe! 
Sorry if the pictures fuzzy - my PC is still trying to break all my images!
The fine slicing blade in the Good Grips set is awesome - as well as graters, this is my 3rd mandolin set too and its perfectly thin and sharp, oh and easy to use! Which is the main thing! I have slightly wonky joints and ease of use is high up on my agenda!! I used both the fine mandolin and coarse grater for this recipe and it took moments to prepare for a big bowl of comfort food! The gripper tool is strong and hold the veggies well when slicing, to protect your fingers!

Serves 4 (ish) Easy


480g thinly sliced white potato
150g cooked gammon, shredded
80g lancashire cheese, grated
500g milk
25g butter
25g plain floir
1 tsp English mustard powder
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
S&P to taste

Pre-heat oven to approx 190o

Cover the potatoes in cold water, add the stock powder and bring to the boil for 5 minutes, then drain well

In the saucepan melt the butter, add the flour and mustard powder, stir in the milk gently until thickened and simmer for 5 minutes

Add half the cheese to the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste

Layer up the potatoes with the gammon and a sprinkle of cheese in between. Cover with the sauce and sprinkle over the last of the cheese

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and all lovingly brown on top.

Many thanks to both OXO Good Grips and to Holly at the Lenny Agency for her patience!

Disclaimer: I received the Complete Grate and Slice set for review only and all opinions and pictures remain the property of Anne's Kitchen

Monday, 18 April 2016

Meal Planning Monday

This week is definitely starting on a better note - I am germ free at last! I am so glad to wave goodbye to my sinus infection, I really can't recommend it! Sleepless nights filled with coughing is definitely something I can live without. I've been a mission to consume a vat load of fruit and veg and I am definitely feeling better for it, hopefully will boost my immune system too! I have a couple more health tests coming up but am keeping positive they will all go swimmingly and I can start getting a bit healthier for summer!

Last week we stayed fairly on plan, Tuesday's Tuna meatballs with spaghetti is a fairly regular dish in our house but this one was definitely one of the best - I added a little pinch of lemon zest to the meatballs and crumbed them very lightly, and they were delicious! Wednesdays sausages got moved to Saturday night as we had something else instead....though I can't quite recall what... The jambalaya for Thursday was still rice based dish but B forgot the aubergines and I had a jar of leftover nacho cheese dip - so that became the sauce loosened with some stock and I added some bacon grill, it was a surprise hit too!

I am not sure if I can post a meal plan next week - the laptop is going back to the chop shop as its still playing up! On a positive note I think I've cracked One Drive and managed to install on my iPad so at least have some technology to hand! Also at last my phone is released from ee's clutches and I can actually call and text people again! I think we get so reliant on being in communication with others I felt quite lost without it. Though I don't entirely think its a bad idea, I have been been trying to practice more mindfulness and its worked wonders for relaxation!

This week I am super poor - after a horrific dentist bill on Tuesday and impending MOT I am down to porridge! Its a good job I have a good store cupboard and lots in the freezer! Last night I made a head start and baked biscuits for the tin, a vat of ham hock pasta for lunches and even some bread! Fortunately I found some supermarket vouchers in a draw, which covered most of the food shop on Saturday so at least its now a decent meal plan!

Warm smoked salmon and avocado salad, home made bread 
(the avo claim to be perfectly ripe...)

Sweet chilli prawn stir fry with noodles 

Whole baked cauliflower cheese, with bacon, green veggies on side
(made this a few weeks back and it was lush!)

Baked haddock fillets on a bed of puy lentils and leeks
(Haddock bought reduced, may coat in pesto)

Curry night


Do you have any new dishes on your plan this week?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Meal Planning Monday

I'm back! Well sort of. The laptop is still continuing with its mission to destroy me and will be yet again be returned to the fixers at the weekend, if not before then or I might actually just throw it out of the window! I should of taken it last week as its still losing the wifi connection, over heating and doing other random things, oh and refusing to download google chrome, so I am trying to do this in Edge which frankly is crap and keeps crashing....but then the germs doing the rounds instead took me over and so most of last week involved this:

And then my cold decided on Thursday it was not quite done with me, as I ended up with a full blown sinus infection with a trip to the GP and now on antibiotics instead! Fortunately I have turned a corner and feeling human again!

So onto meal planning... with the PC driving me insane I've not been very good at going near it without wasting an hour trying to resolve its issues! We have eaten really well of late, even with my germs and Saturday night I finally got a bit of my cooking happiness back and actually made something new in the form of braised Miso Aubergine-needs a bit of tweaking but a good start!

This weeks plan is roughly thrown together, and fitting around hospital appointments and dentists - that's soup night after both the hygienist and a filling being replaced, what was I thinking?! I have been quite good using up odds n sods from the freezer, oh and we had to buy a new fridge recently too which involved eating lots of leftovers in one sitting! Its been an expensive few weeks so definitely no extra shopping this week!

Special fried rice -
basically leftovers from the weekend cooked together and topped with a fried egg!

Tuna meatballs and spaghetti
Cupboard staple meal!

Chorizo sausages, mash, kale
Mostly for B and lunches, I will be on green soup when the numbness wears off!

With bacon and whatever veg needs eating!

Beef burgers, sweet potato wedges
Easy Friday dinner! Burgers are squirreled away in freezer so just have to remember to thaw them!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Getting back in the groove..

This year has been a real struggle to get back into blogging, to the point of often feeling like giving up- not something I have lightly considered as last week saw my blog's 9th birthday! January was mostly consisting of exhaustion, which turned out my vitamin D was low and the magic pills have got me back functioning but then in February I had to undergo some rather a raft of unpleasant gastro tests, which saw me either not being able to eat or wanting to so the cooking has not been happening and as a result neither has the blog!! I've had something called Reflux Oesophagitis (on top of IBS and functional dyspepsia), which basically you don't want any of but its played havoc with my appetite and I am still recovering, along with other things still being investigated.. the fun never stops!

Anyway just as I started to get my groove back and contemplate blogging, the laptop spectacularly gave up the ghost and at one point I thought I had lost everything, including all my food photos! Luckily I have managed to claw back most of my lost stuff after many a wasted evening but the laptop despite a new hard drive, adaptor and a few other components is still not quite perfect so it may well end up back in the repair shop this weekend...if I can face being without it yet again! Oh and our other fridge broke which has been a disaster involving a replacement that didn't work and a brand new one - just what you need when the car is also due its MOT.. anyway new fridge is lovely, and huge and I plan to fill it so I can start properly cooking again!

There has been some cooking going on at least - my appetite is definitely back! This was the whole cauliflower cheese I made for Easter Sunday - it was amazing if I do say so myself! I gently poached the cauliflower for a few minutes first, then laid it on a bed of its green leaves then basically drowned it in a mustard cheese sauce, with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs before being baked to loveliness! It was a huge hit with all of us!

So thanks for bearing with me - I do promise a real recipe again soon!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Why you should always back-up your pc..

This week has been mostly spent either at work, which is great, I really am loving my job, or not so great sat hunched over the laptop slowly but surely restoring all my 'lost' data, probably too much alcohol and a few expletives scattered in between. After a week in the repairers, its had a new hard drive, some techy cable thing and another new adaptor. The hard drive had hidden documents, aka 'deleted' which affected the cloud storage that I have been using and after no help from them I finally figured out where they were hiding ... and I am still only on downloading photos.. all 8,299 of them...I had stored them also in a flickr cloud, which has informed me the free option is ending in 9 days.. and I have another potential backup via some graphic software I bought but typically its not accepting my coupon code..so am waiting to hear from their support team... I think.. got in a bit of a pickle figuring it out! I am fairly clued up on tech but this week has definitely been a challenge of my technical knowledge! I will be definitely one way or another more carefully looking at my backing up options now!! Oh, also some of the documents decided to become corrupt so its been a very un-fun times!

So blogging, well has completely fallen off the radar frankly! Between IT failure and being rather busy in my 'real' job there has not been a huge amount of exciting cooking going on! I've been struggling a bit to stand for long periods too due to foot pain, so there has been no baking either despite the urge to bake! We have had some good meals though on less busy evenings, frankly I am amazed I cooked anything after the hours spent over the laptop, though I did rather over-brown a few meals!!

My blog is coming up to 9 years old soon. So much has changed. This is the year I think I will either give it a real good shot or give up. Its about 50/50 at the moment! At the moment my folders are in moderate chaos but I did find a few photos!

This is sweet and sour swede with bacon, from a recipe I tore out a magazine ages back, topped with a fried egg because I felt it needed it! Was a really nice change from typical mashed swede, definitely one to make again:

Despite being on a self imposed cookery book plan, I really could not resist this copy of Julia Childs's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' - it was a mere pound in the hospice shop! How I could I resist bearing in mind I was left unsupervised! I have a pretty impressive selection of cuisines but surprisingly barely any French ones! I think the original owner has never looked inside it!

So please carry on bearing with me whilst I slowly rebuild my laptop.. I will try and be back soon!

Monday, 29 February 2016

How not to meal plan ...

This week I was all prepared with my meal plan. I'd rearranged a few bits after realising nearly every meal was pork in some form and decided that was a bit OTT. Last night I logged on the PC to finalise it....and it wasn't my usual home screen.. 

And I couldn't find anything on it.

No photos.

No meal plan.


Horror, yes. 

Eventually I thought it had done some kind of update, and I found everything had been magically moved to another drive, so I promptly relocated everything.... Relief was an understatement ... And so I finalised said plan, whilst watching Lukcy Man- am loving the series has kept me so hooked, I didn't write it down, like I normally do to attach to the fridge...

Tonight I get home from work, wearily log on, eventually it opens and my more regular home screen is showing...okay....try to open meal planner... And it's gone. Proper gone. Everything else has gone. I swear I will never buy a hp again! Nothing but trouble! So I am praying to the back up cloud gods that it did in deed back up or I think I might have a meltdown. I've had to drive into town tonight and drop it back at pc world for repair, so back to using the iPad, which anyone who has ever tried the blogger app knows how basic it is...

So. Am hastily trying  to remember what I put down other than tonight's foot long hotdogs. 

As a little highlight the below picture is the planned Korean seafood pancake I made last week, from a waitrose recipe - I think my pan was a bit small as it was quite a beast but it was delicious - definitely will make again!

This evening has been definitely one of those gahhhargh evenings, I didn't sleep well last night so feel a bit worn out from a lovely but busy weekend - lots of lovely food - plus a trip to the theatre to see Priscilla, queen of the desert, which was brilliant, and then tonight having to drive into town and sort out the laptop, then a planned quick trip to halfords took ages whilst I managed to let the female population down in not knowing how to open the bonnet of the car, and then offending the chap who helped by not realising he was a mechanic. On the plus side he was amazed I still own a real map!
And I spiller milk on the carpet. Bed is beckoning! 

So guessing my meal plan - I think it was mostly what I planned....

Tonight was foot long hotdogs, in baguette with garlic fried Savoy cabbage
Thai style pork meatballs, broccoli, with basmati rice
Pesto baked cod, potato wedges, braised leeks and peas
Macaroni cheese
Scampi, mash and peas 

Bear with me till am computer enabled again! 
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